NY Rangers (+110) at St. Louis Blues (-130, 5 o/u)
Despite losing in New Jersey on Tuesday Night, the New York Rangers (34-20-6, 74 pts) have still won seven of their last ten and are holding down second-place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blueshirts will get a stiff test tonight when they travel to St. Louis to face the Blues (35-18-9, 79 pts) at the Scottrade Center (8:00 PM Eastern).
Recent streak notwithstanding, New York remains 18 points behind the division-leading Washington Capitals, who are on a historic pace. The team is effectively relegated to the battle for second and currently hold a three-point edge on their in-state rivals, the Islanders.
The Rangers couldn’t put any more distance between themselves and the Isles on Tuesday, falling 5-2 in Jersey. Without defensemen Ryan McDonagh (jaw) and Marc Staal (lower body), New York was outshot 36-19 by the Devils, including 17-5 in the second period.
“It could have been our worst period of the year,” coach Alain Vigneault said to the Associated Press.
Both McDonagh and Staal are expected to be on the ice tonight. Henrik Lundqvist will get the start in net. He started his career 0-4 against St. Louis but has bounced back by winning the last two.
The Blues have an identical 7-2-1 record in their last ten, but also lost their last game (6-3 to San Jose on Monday). St. Louis fell behind 3-0 early and never really got on track. Like the Rangers, the Blues look like a lock for the playoffs; but they’re also still in the hunt for a division title, sitting just three back of the division-leading Stars and two back of the Blackhawks.
They’re going to be battling injury issues tonight. Goalie Brian Elliot (lower body), center Alex Steen (upper body), and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (knee) will all be sidelined. Forward Ryan Reaves will also miss this meeting after being suspended for three games for an illegal hit against San Jose.
St. Louis has dominated the series recently, posting an 8-3 SU record in their last 11 against the Rangers. However, the Blues’ myriad injuries make the Rangers better value for tonight.
Pick: NY Rangers (+110).
(Photo credit: Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (IMG_4517) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)